Boohoo publishes report on working conditions

Online fashion retailer Boohoo has published the findings of an independent report which found that it benefited from poor working conditions and low wages in its supply chain, though the company's involvement was not intentional.

The report was commissioned after an undercover investigation by the Sunday Times accused the company, which operates a major distribution hub in Burnley, of operating "sweat shop"-like conditions at its Leicester operation.

Boohoo initially refuted the claims, and an independent review was commissioned which was headed by Alison Levitt QC.

The review identified "many failings" in the Leicester supply chain and recommended improvements to Boohoo’s related corporate governance, compliance and monitoring processes

However, it did highlight that the company did not deliberately allow poor conditions and low pay to exist within its supply chain, it did not intentionally profit from them and its business model is not founded on exploiting workers in Leicester.

The report also found "ample evidence" that the steps which Boohoo is now taking in relation to remedying problems in its Leicester supply chain had been implemented nearly a year ago. They were a product of processes it had itself put in place and not just a reaction to the negative publicity in July and August 2020. 

Boohoo said: "Nevertheless, with the benefit of hindsight we regret that these processes did not advance quickly enough.

"The findings and recommendations of the independent review are clear. The group recognises that in order to effect real change in the Leicester textile industry, further clear, strong, and measurable actions are needed in addition to those that the group was undertaking. The board has reviewed and is wholly supportive of Ms Levitt’s recommendations, and intends to implement these in full."

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